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An expert vet at a Cumbrian animal hospital has earned glowing praise after removing two tumours from a dog’s eye to save his sight and repairing the damage with a piece of his ear.

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Chris Dixon, clinical director here at Veterinary Vision, successfully carried out the delicate and challenging surgery on a miniature schnauzer called Alfie.

After removing the tumour, Chris had to ensure the shape of the cartilage from the ear precisely matched the tissue removed from the eye and secure it in place with tiny, absorbable stitches.

He then found evidence of an additional tumour within the eye, which he destroyed with a laser.

Chris, an advanced practitioner in veterinary ophthalmology, said he was delighted with the outcome, especially considering the full extent of the surgery and reconstruction work that Alfie required.

He said: “The prospect of removing and reconstructing the wall of a dog’s eye is always daunting, as there are a number of serious complications that can be encountered.

“A procedure of this complexity requires careful pre-operative planning and we used high-frequency ultrasonography to identify the surgical margins.

“Alfie’s operation then involved removal of the tumour and the insertion of cartilage harvested from his ear.

“The shape of the cartilage had to precisely match the excised tissue and was secured in position with very small absorbable sutures.

“Alfie had evidence of additional tumour development within the eye and this was destroyed with a laser during the same operation.

“This part of the procedure was technically challenging, with the laser coupled to a very small, high-definition video endoscope to directly examine the cancer. It is a marvel of modern technology that we have camera systems small enough to look inside the eye.

“Alfie was a fantastic patient and has made an excellent recovery, with minimal scar tissue. His sight has been preserved and he is now making the most of his vision.

“The whole Veterinary Vision team is thrilled that he has made such a complete recovery.”

Owners Paul and Corrie Hardaker from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, are thrilled by his “miraculous” treatment and recovery.

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Corrie said: “Alfie had developed some worrying growths on his right eye so our local vet referred us to Veterinary Vision. From that point on, Alfie was clearly in the best of hands and received some miraculous care.

“The vets and nurses looked after Alfie so well on the day of surgery, and best of all Veterinary Vision managed to save the sight in Alfie’s affected right eye.

 

“We cannot praise their care and dedication highly enough and would enthusiastically recommend them to anyone whose beloved dog or cat has eye problems.”

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